The Supernatural fandom has been known to be passionate, so I’m sure this might be an unpopular opinion. However, I feel Supernatural has run its course, and should have ended with season 5. Running on for too long is a common problem in the TV world today, and it bothers me when show runners are willing to compromise their artistic integrity in order to make more money. There are a lot of shows on television now that should have ended a few years ago. I understand that it’s easy to continue on when you know you’re making good money off of something no matter if the stories create headlines or not, but is it worth investing so much time into creating a mediocre product?
From what I’ve read in interviews over the past few years, Supernatural was always supposed to end with season 5. Eric Kripke, the former show runner, had an endgame in mind from the start, and when season 5 came around we saw storylines from way back in season 1 being weaved into the season 5 plot and wrapped up in a great ending in the finale. In my personal opinion, it should have ended here, and based on the fact that Kripke chose to step down as show runner, I think it’s okay to speculate that he did to some extent feel that way too. He felt he had created a great show and told the story he wanted to tell, so why continue?
It is understandable that they would continue so they can maintain a steady income. It is a competitive industry to work in, and there are so many new shows that only last a couple of episodes before being cancelled. They had a good thing going for them, so why stop? My argument is that, as a writer, I don’t see how you can compromise your art just to make money. Eric Kripke did choose to step down, but I’m not sure he should have let someone else continue his project.
One could argue that the decision was for the fans. However, I don’t think that’s true, because while some people would have been disappointed by it ending, or the finale itself, I think most of them would learn to appreciate a so planned out show with five seasons telling one big story. There’s a reason why shows that know their end date are usually more appreciated in hindsight. If you look at shows like Veronica Mars, which never got an ending, or One Tree Hill which just went on and on until none of the storylines were original or believable anymore, you can appreciate a show ending at the top of their game.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Supernatural fandom is passionate, and I did at one point consider myself a part of it. I still like the show, but I don’t love it anymore, and I sometimes find myself wishing it had ended after season 5. This is not because I don’t enjoy an episode every now and then, but because it lacks the mythology and overlying plot that it had in the first 5 seasons. The season 5 finale wrapped everything up, and it now sometimes feels like I’m watching a new show with the same characters and the same back story. I don’t see a lot of complaints in Supernatural discussions online, or maybe it’s just that the fans who love the show no matter what are more vocal online, but I do feel it has lost some of its ‘magic’, and I miss being excited to see what comes next.
So, although Supernatural didn’t do it, I hope more shows (or show runners, rather) choose to end their show when they are still producing fresh and interesting material, and don’t keep on writing just because it’s a safe way to make money. A good example of a show that has chosen to do that is Breaking Bad, which is planning to end their show with season 5, and I’m looking forward to seeing them wrap up the story when and where they want to, not when the network feels it’s gone on for long enough.